Sky Blue FC vs Washington Spirit preview: Missing pieces

Both teams will be looking for a win this weekend while missing key players due to national team duties.

Sky Blue FC vs Washington Spirit preview: Missing pieces
Sky Blue's starting XI against Orlando Pride on June 28th l Photo: Jenny Chuang/VAVEL USA

The NWSL wastes no time getting back into action with games two games being played less than 24 hours after the last game in the 2017 Tournament of Nations. Sky Blue FC hosts the Washington Spirit at 7 pm EST at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, New Jersey. Both teams will be missing players due to the 2017 Tournament of Nations. Sky Blue is without Sam Kerr and Kelley O’Hara. The Spirit is without Mallory Pugh. Washington and Sky Blue have met earlier this year in Washington, where the Spirit claimed a 4-3 win.

Missing in the attack for Sky Blue

Sky Blue will definitely feel the absence of Australian, Sam Kerr. Kerr notched 11 goals so far this season and leads the NWSL in career goals with 37. While serving her national team duties with the Matilda’s Kerr scored a hat trick in the game against Japan, Australia’s first hat trick. During the Matilda’s final match against Brazil, Kerr had two assists and a goal.

Also missing due to national team duty is USWNT defender, Kelley O’Hara. Although O’Hara plays in the defense for the USWNT she has played in the defense, midfield, and up top for Sky Blue this season. O’Hara has three goals and two assists, one of those goals coming when the New Jersey took on Washington back in May.

Leah Galton is not likely to see action this week, but not because of national team duty. Unfortunately, Galton is listed as “doubtful” for action in Week 15, due to a back strain. Galton has two goals on the season. Even though Galton only has two goals, her presence on the field is invaluable. Galton’s often subbed on when the team needs fresh legs and someone who can go end-line and drive the ball into the box.

With three key players out this week, Christy Holly and Sky Blue will look to their four other goal scorers this year: Daphne Corboz, Maya Hayes, Sarah Killion, and Raquel Rodriguez.

Struggling Washington

The Spirit has been plagued by injuries from the beginning of the season, and it has shown. The Washington will be without new signee Estefania Banini, Joanna Lohman, Francisca Ordega, and Kelsey Wys. The team currently sits in last place with a record of 3-8-3 overall, and 0-5-2 on the road. Unfortunately for Jim Gabarra and his team, they have four more road games this season. The Spirit has been able to take the lead of games, but they have not been able to hold it. They have dropped 10 points from winning positions this year, holding onto just three of eight leads that they have taken this year. Sky Blue will want to capitalize on this team in order to reclaim their playoff spot after holding a spot since June 30th.

Defender, Shelina Zadorsky, and goalkeeper, Stephanie Labbe for the Spirit l Photo: Kelley Piper/ KPiperPhotos
Defender, Shelina Zadorsky, and goalkeeper, Stephanie Labbe for the Spirit l Photo: Kelley Piper/ KPiperPhotos

NWSL